Sharing and building Solution Focused practice in organisations

Following my meeting in May with Paul Cilliers, he introduced me to Professor Peter Allen, head of the Complex Systems Research Centre in the School of Management at Cranfield University in England. I met him yesterday - notes attached.

One interesting thing to emerge from the discussion was Peter's idea that SF forms an interesting contrast to the 'sensemaking' view of Karl Weick and others. I am not too well up on sensemaking (, but I think it's the idea that we have to make sense of a situation to make progress, whereas SF has a focus not on understanding but on observing progress and then using that later (perhaps) to make sense. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Is this an interesting line to follow?

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.... and ==> HERE a description with a bit more (but not too much) details.
And here:
is an article written by David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone about this Cynefin framework. The title is "A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making". The article is published in Harvard Business Review.
btw: this is good to read as a "warm up" for "The new dynamics of strategy: Sense-making in a complex and complicated world" written by Kurtz and Snowdon, see here:
As a "warm up" before reading this paper written by Kurtz and Snowdon I recommend to read this:

A simple explanation of the Cynefin Framework:
and this:

And after this an article written by David J. Snowden and Mary E. Boone about "A Leader’s Framework for Decision Making":
I would say it's an interesting line to follow;
Also very interesting is the search for specific context-dependent knowledge (action research, SF) in contrast to general applicable knowledge as a way to reach improvement. Great background provided by Kurz&Snowden: convergence and swarming versus exploitation (just in time) and incremental improvement as I understand it.
when whole-system interventions are required, we need to move from chaos to the complex, not to the known. (...) A transition from the chaotic to the complex is a matter of creating multiple attractors, or swarming points, around which un-order can instantiate itself, (...). For example, if one were trying to evacuate a panicked crowd in a theater on fire, it would make more sense to shout out “the blinking orange lights are above the exit doors,” which is a complex swarmingpoint trigger that relies on local knowledge only, than to shout out “come towards the back of the theatre,” an ordered trigger that relies on global knowledge which may be unavailable.
Interesting quote, indeed! I have those connections to that in the business:

==> Building up an organisation based on a lot of profit centres with a large amount of autonomy

==> Splitting a very big project into many autonomous sub projects which are linked together (and controlled) by a few key figures and a few key deliverables only

==> backlogs and task-lists (with the status of each task) which are visible for all members of the (agile) project team

This are all examples how to change "centralised steering" into a very decentralised and complex structure of "autonomously working cells". So, increasing complexity not only is a mean to handle "chaos". It is also e mean how to handle systems which became unmanageable using the techniques which are working for simple or complicated (= "trivial") systems.

In politics I also see this - especially in Switzerland: Here we have very autonomous regions with e.g. different taxes and different school systems.
Sharon McGann received this paper from one of his University colleagues and kindly forwarded it to me.

This paper IMHO is a very comprehensive collection and reflection  upon
theoretical findings of the complexity sciences and and practical
experiences concerning different aspects of "agile" enterprises. In
paper also unanswered questions and open fields of research are
presented - not as deficits but as areas for future  scientific work.
Complexity-Based Agile Enterprises:
Putting Self-Organizing Emergence to Work

Lee Dyer and Jeff Ericksen

Working Paper 2008 – 01

Cornell University

School of Industrial and Labor Relations

Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies

More ==> HERE
In the last months we all became observers how a very large and very complex system behaves in a crisis: the global economy and financial markets.

And on Nov. 15, 2008, the "Declaration of the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy" (G20) was published, see:

In this declaration I read - among other parts:

... Our work will be guided by a shared belief that market principles, open trade and investment regimes, and effectively regulated financial markets foster the dynamism, innovation, and entrepreneurship ...
... Root Causes of the Current Crisis ...
... Major underlying factors to the current situation were, among others, inconsistent and insufficiently coordinated macroeconomic policies, inadequate structural reforms, which led to unsustainable global macroeconomic outcomes ...
... We have taken strong and significant actions to date to ... address regulatory deficiencies ...
... we will implement reforms that will strengthen financial markets and regulatory regimes so as to avoid future crises. Regulation is first and foremost the responsibility of national regulators who constitute the first line of defense against market instability ...
... This Action Plan sets forth a comprehensive work plan to implement the five agreed principles for reform. Our finance ministers will work to ensure that the taskings set forth in this Action Plan are fully and vigorously implemented....

IMHO for me all this sounds as an agenda how to enhance a complicated (not complex) system using "mechanistic" measures based on a cause-effect-logic.

How far does all this really fit to the global economy and financial markets as a very complex system?

I am wondering what "complexity experts" are thinking about this G20-declaration!





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